October 25, 2010
Our first dual meet of the season is under our belts. The team swam well and everyone got one qualification meet under their belts for NH States. We introduced the EST Goal Board and the “Gummi Club” for the younger swimmers and they were both very successful. (More info on these below.)
There were some wrinkles at the meet that the coaches have already met about and are working to smooth out. In particular, the meet event format at Manchester was quite “awkward” for the swimmers and coaches and took a while to adjust to. Heats and lanes were difficult to give to swimmers because we were being given them one sheet at a time every half hour.
Our goals as coaches is to watch all swimmers race in the water and to talk with as many as (humanly:) possible after their swims. This is already difficult to do at a dual meet and the Manchester format of combining ages 9-19 for both Girls and Boys, often in different ages and strokes, was confusing for the swimmers and myself.
It was explained that they needed to run a “fast” meet due to time constraints but their efforts at quickness and efficiency hampered our ability to give our best attention to the swimmers.
As I learn the swimmers’ names, times and legal strokes, the relay-forming process will become easier and more efficient. But at this meet I had to spend a great deal of time figuring out the relays and trying to get each swimmer into at least one. This wasn’t possible for Manchester but it will be our goal for the 12-unders at every dual meet.
The “Gummi Club” is a motivational system to reward swimmers for a best time at a meet and to give an incentive to learn their times in all strokes. When a swimmer finishes their race they need to get their time from the timer when they climb out. They also need to ask what their “old” time was. This lets them know if they improved. They bring both times to their coach and repeat them. If a best time, the coach pats them on the back and sends them to the “Gummi” coach/volunteer. (who will be coach Jacqui at most meets) where they repeat this again. Each best time allows a swimmer to pick from the Gummi Box with a wide assortment of Gummi Bears, Gummi drops, Lifesaver Gummis etc. Because they repeated their new and old times twice, the swimmers will learn their times and this is the first and most important step in learning to set goals.
Special thanks to Mrs.Patch who volunteered as “Gummi Lady” at the Mancheter meet!
Next to the Gummi coach/volunteer hangs the EST Goal Board. It lists almost all the possible goals a swimmer in New England could set for themselves. It has the NE Age Group Championship cuts for all the age groups. It has the USA National Time Standards. It also has the NE District cuts. And for the Manchester meet it also had a SC Meter to SC Yards time conversion chart. (That pool is 25 meters, which is why the swimmers times need to be converted.) When we set goals with the swimmers we will use the information on that board to show them what is possible.